Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa City Council pares digital billboard plan

TAMPA — Digital billboards are probably coming to Tampa, but in smaller numbers.

The City Council on Thursday voted to scale back the number of billboards allowed in an ordinance proposed by city attorneys. A vote on the rules is scheduled for May 6.

The ordinance presented Thursday would have allowed Clear Channel Outdoor and CBS to install 16 billboards each on interstates and major roadways. That idea was endorsed by billboard companies and reluctantly accepted by neighborhood leaders who have fought the bright signs. The signs can change images every 10 to 15 seconds, depending on the location.

But council member John Dingfelder suggested limiting the companies to six billboards each and revisiting the ordinance in two years.

"Let's dip our toe in," Dingfelder said. "Then we can gauge the community's reaction. Because this is not just about safety; it's about aesthetics."

Council members Tom Scott, Linda Saul-Sena and Charlie Miranda supported Dingfelder's compromise.

Mary Mulhern voted against it, saying that she would rather wait to vote on any electronic billboard rules until a federal study on their safety is complete.

"There's no reason for us to make this decision now," she said. "I don't see this as a public benefit. The only people it benefits are a few large companies."

Seminole Heights resident Randy Baron, who has been among a group of neighborhood leaders fighting the proposal, said he liked Dingfelder's idea.

"In a perfect world, there would be no billboards at all," he said. "But we don't live in a perfect world."

The debate about digital billboards, which currently aren't allowed in Tampa, has dragged on for well over a year.

The city was pressed into coming up with an ordinance to settle long-running lawsuits with Clear Channel and CBS that began after the city required the companies to take down billboards to improve the look of roads but offered no options for relocation.

The companies settled the lawsuits in November. But the agreements came with the stipulation that the companies could opt out of them if the city failed to approve digital billboards.

Marilyn Healy, an attorney for CBS, said an ordinance allowing six digital signs would be enough to keep the agreement in place.

Tom O'Neill, vice president of real estate and public affairs for Clear Channel, said the proposal would need review "through our large corporate system."

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3401.

Tampa City Council pares digital billboard plan 04/22/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 22, 2010 11:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Encounters: Trial by storm for a rookie principal

    K12

    DUNEDIN — When he nodded off to sleep, the hallway lights outside Michael Vasallo's office were on, so the sudden darkness woke him.

    The glow of his desk phone dimmed.

    Michael Vasallo, right, the first-year principal at Dunedin Highland Middle School, talks with the school's head plant operator Clint Case near the back-up generator on campus. The generator failed just as Hurricane Irma passed through Pinellas County, making for a stressful night. The experience made Vasallo long to return to his regular job, educating middle schoolers. [COLEEN WRIGHT   |   Times]


  2. Who is in charge during a hurricane? Hillsborough County and Tampa still can't agree

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Who has the authority to order an evacuation during a hurricane?

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he has evacuation authority.
  3. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  4. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win

    Blogs

    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  5. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.